Looking at ways people have channeled
their creative urges using digital photography is what we try to do in
presenting images in the Creative Corner. Just as the brush and
canvas are the tools of the painter, today’s digital image processing tools
allow us, as photographers, to express and translate our thoughts, feelings, and
abstract ideas into infinite creative forms. However, unlike the painter, we are
constrained to use actual images of scenes or objects as the starting material.
With the advent of advanced Photoshop tools the photographer can recast an image
anew or create montages from different objects.
Are we finally bumping up against
what an artist can do? We believe so. We are fully in another genre of
photography, call it photo-artistry if you will. Not tied down to what we
see and faithfully record with a camera, we have the ability to dramatically
transform, alter, or banish and replace what the camera saw to express a
different reality or no reality at all. Yes, in the past we had photo-montages
but not digital brushes to create new visions. There are, of course, barriers to
photo-artistry. Just as with all creative processes one has to take risks,
overcome disappointments (it didn’t come out right), learn how to use tools
effectively (in our case, image manipulation tools), be persistent and focused,
and allow our imaginations to drive the process both consciously and
Major Techniques Used in Creative Image Making.
There are basically four different
techniques and, of course, any combination of them. The basic types or
Object montage composing. Selecting and extracting objects
from one or more images and placing them into one main image. This is probably
the most complex and time consuming process. Yet, we find it to be the most
creative. You really have to work your imagination from start to finish.
Interestingly, the resulting images do not have to be overly complex to evoke a
response from the viewer. Developing an idea that strikes an emotional chord in
the viewer is usually the hard part.
Using Photoshop or third party plug-in filters. There is an
almost infinite number of combinations of Photoshop’s gallery filters; use one
filter then another then another to get a final image. Usually, the filter is
applied en mass to image but it can be applied selectively as well. One of best
known of third party plug-in filters is Nik filters from Niksoftware (
www.niksoftware.com ). There are host of various
filters sold by Niksoftware.
Using painter software tools. Corel Painter X really allows
one to paint like an artist over the image and much more. It is a powerhouse of
creativity tools. Corel Painter Essentials 4 is much less expensive than
Painter X and allows you ways to create different paint styles, e.g.,
impressionistic, classical. It has some other features as well. These wonderful
tools can be used in a quick fashion or in a detailed manner, which can be quite
time consuming; however, quite rewarding.
Using strictly Photoshop’s non-filter gallery tools on an
image without recourse to third party tools. For example, blend modes,
transformations, liquefy, color selection, gradient, and blur tools to name some
can create some pretty strong and unusual images.
To enter into the photo-artistry
arena, one can start by trial & error, first using Type 2
techniques just to get a feeling for image altering. These techniques are quite
easy to apply. Next, advance into Types 1 & 4. Here it is
essential to understand Photoshop tools, which in itself is time consuming. In
fact, for some it is a turn-off due to the difficulty in understanding and
conceptualizing how these tools function and interact e.g., layers, channels,
masks, and selection tools. The barrier to understanding can be lowered
substantially by picking up several books to read. Our recommendations are:
“Photoshop Masking and Composing” by Katrin Eismann
“How to Cheat in Photoshop by Steve” Caplin
“Creative Digital Photography” by Michael Busselle
Eismann’s book is a must for
mastering masking and composing using Photoshop tools. Caplin’s book teaches
the many image altering techniques one can use with Photoshop tools. Lastly,
Busselle’s book shows a range of creative techniques which start you on the
process of thinking creatively and aesthetically when manipulating images. There
are, of course, a host of other books as well. Whether you own Photoshop CS2,
CS3, or CS4, any of these versions will serve you well in getting on the
creative road using Type techniques, 1, 3, and 4 as briefly described above.
We initially show the works of three
photographers in the Creative Corner. More will be added over time. We hope
enjoy the photo-artistry presented and watch out for new additions over time.